"God blesses those who take out his sweet spirits." - Just Another Cassio

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is Aaron North (Nine Inch Nails) an active member of the church?

- BigHeadTodd

A: Dear Todd,

I haven't been able to find anything reliable about his possible membership in the Church. Either he's not LDS, or he simply hasn't decided to make it public. Rumors about various celebrities' membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are very hard to confirm or deny. Even if we could find out for you—if he hasn't chosen to make it public, then we shouldn't either.

—Laser Jock
Question #45206 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My grandpa and I are interested in animal behavior as it relates to natural disasters. Especially elephants. We like elephants. Tonight my grandpa told me about a man in China that actually went to the authorities and told them that a natural disaster was coming because of the unusual behavior of his animals. (Maybe he was a zookeeper or something?) So my question is, how far in advance do animals—elephants specifically, "know" about natural disasters?

- Ivy Halls

A: Dear Ivy,

It's hard to document this kind of thing for a number of reasons, ranging from the fact that we can't induce natural disasters in a double blind experiment to the fact that "my cat is acting weird" could mean anything from "he has a hairball" to "a huge earthquake is coming." That said, based on reports after the fact, some animals "know" about an impending natural disaster anywhere from days ahead of time to just hours before the event. You (and your grandpa) might be interested in the book Dogs that know when their owners are coming home, by Rupert Sheldrake.

- Katya
Question #45205 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear bookworms and French-speakers,

I've read The Phantom of the Opera several times, and the two paragraphs about the fireman seeing a ghost head have seemed odd to me ever since 4th grade. It's the very beginning of the story, and for no apparent reason Leroux is suddenly emphatic about firemen. Then after the cameo, in a totally separate one-line paragraph, we learn that the "fireman's name was Pampin."
I was going to ask why this point is apparently so significant to the story, because I can't figure out why it was even included let alone emphasized, but...I think the question that really begs to be answered here is: how the heck do you pronounce "Pampin"?


A: Dear Dodd,

In IPA, the word would be written /pɑ̃ pɛ̃/ except that the ~ should be over the vowels, not after them. If you're not familiar with IPA or with French nasalized vowels, I'd say that his name is pronounced "pom pan," roughly, except that you don't pronounce the final /m/ or /n/, but nasalize the preceding vowels, instead. That may not be very helpful, but it's the best I can do in writing.

- Katya
Question #45204 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

" I think religion is a crutch for the weak, those unable to accept death for what it is, those who feel reassurance in talking to a god that isn't there"

How do you deal with this? How do you explain to this person what they're missing out on? ... My heart is torn because of this person and the void that they must have in their life. I don't know what to do. I just want them to understand... they don't have to believe, just understand...

-A deeply saddened xkcd 167

A: Dear deeply saddened,

The thing about the type of person who makes statements like this is that they do have faith, but it's an absolute faith in the idea that THERE IS NO GOD. This is what allows them to dismiss the testimonies of the many people who say they have had powerful, unmistakable interactions with God or another divine power. It also allows them to ignore the sheer illogic of their statements in the context of the lives of people like Joseph Smith, who made choices and sacrifices that were well out of proportion for someone who was just motivated by imaginary warm fuzzies.

Depending on the depth of their "conversion," you may not be able to reason with such people, any more than you can reason with extreme religious nuts. It's just a different kind of fanaticism.

- Katya
A: Dear deeply saddened~

I can't help but boggle at this person's term "unable to accept death for what it is". I've never heard a satisfactory explanation for what death is outside the realm of religion, because religion holds a monopoly on any understanding of the afterlife. I mean, seriously, what is death, if there is no God? Is it just the cessation of existence and beginning of oblivion? Oblivion is at least as incomprehensible a subject as God.

Anyway, you don't want to argue with this friend, but I get irritated when atheists think that their philosophy has any more scientific credibility than ours, as if atheism suddenly became the default and religion has to prove itself valid.

The only way I can think of to help your friend understand (and believe, why not?) is to humbly and sincerely bear your testimony in an appropriate context. Judging by past experience with people who produce quotes like that, it seems unlikely to me that you'll instantly get a positive response, but a thoughtful person will realize that they've just heard a first-hand witness, and start paying more attention to the ideas they've rejected. It's unlikely that this will happen immediately, as I said, but I believe that your testimony will help this person when the time comes for werf to reconsider werf's life.

I hope this made sense; I tried to be as helpful as I could.

Good luck.

Question #45203 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

The keyboard on my laptop is broken, and it's like the right arrow key is constantly pressing. It makes it impossible to type things normally or to use a lot of websites. Is there a way to disable just that one key?

- broke

A: Dear broke,

I did a little looking around and found KeyTweak, a free keyboard remapping utility. Not only does it allow you to change the keys on your keyboard for free, but it's also small, fast to install, and easy to use. It also lets you disable given keys. I tried disabling my right arrow key, and sure enough, it no longer works. For example, I tried holding it down while typing in a document, and it didn't seem to matter that I was holding it down while typing other things. Hopefully this helps with your particular problem as well. You can even remap another key to be the right arrow, so that you can still move the cursor to the right if you wish.

—Laser Jock
Question #45200 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Currently, I have two new roommates. I've had MANY roommates during my 6+ years here, but I've encountered something new.

These roommates are both female in their young 20s from the Western USA. They share a twin bed and sleep in just their underwear. This isn't an occassional occurance--this is what they have done every night for the past several weeks. The sharing of the bed is NOT due to a lack of other mattresses/couches/floor space to sleep on, because we have plenty of that. We have two beds that are empty and three nice couches too. They frequently "chill" in the room with just their underwear on.

I don't want to make a huge deal about it because they should be moving out at the end of the term and I can survive until then. I wanted to check though--am I the only one weirded out by this? Any opinions on the matter?


A: Dear Clothed,

I cringed when I read this question. The cringe was due to the fact that I am sincerely, completely, and totally weirded out by what your roommates do. Actually, I'd probably even tell them how strange and almost gross it is for them to be doing that.

Have you considered that maybe they are, um, attracted to each other? If I were you I think I'd investigate and/or attempt to put an end to the unnatural behavior.

-The Cheeky Chickie

A: Dear sounds like that Jimmy Eat World video,

Weird? More like HOT!

Well, OK, it's a little weird. But, unless they're doing anything more than dressing "extra" casual and getting their roommate-cuddle on, you pry shouldn't feel threatened by it. Like you said, you can survive until the end of the term.

If you really wanted to put a stop to it, you could just start inviting male friends over without announcing them. I imagine it wouldn't take too long for them to start getting dressed.

A: Dear Miss Dearheart,

Eewww. And so unnatural. I'm with Cheeky Chickie on this one.

A: Dear Clothed,

Yes, that's not normal. I know that some people are pretty comfortable with their roommates, and may be more casual around them, but this sounds like it's over the line into inappropriate. Even if nothing is going on, it definitely doesn't look good, and it could lead to bad things. If they need something to cuddle up to when they sleep, maybe they could try a body pillow or something.

It's definitely a hard topic to broach, but I think it would be worth asking them why they do this (without making it into a big deal). That should give you a start, at least, and you can see where the conversation goes from there.

—Laser Jock
Question #45199 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

According to a biography of former Apostle, Elder Mark E. Petersen, he wrote the weekly editorials for the Church News. Who writes the editorials now? Is it always the same person or is it a shared responsibility?

dial guy

A: Dear dial guy,

It's a shared responsibility. The staffer I talked to informed me that it's split between about six to eight people.

Question #45193 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

what are some good anime movies? I'm looking for one's with fighting and action but not guts flying everywhere.Also I don't want it to be to kid-ish, like I started watching spirited away and didn't like it. I have watched Princess Mononoke and I liked that one but the plot kinda was lame , at least it got lame at the end with the spirit deer's head and all. Also I don't want the animation to look annoying like pokemon or dragon ball z .I started watching Final Fantasy advent children and I really like the animation style and the fighting. Are there anymore Final Fantasy movies like advent children?


A: Dear dear,

Other Miyazaki films aren't quite a kid-ish (and even his kid's films deal with mature themes like aging and man's relationship to nature). Grave of the Fireflies is an earlier Miyazaki film that sledge hammers my brittle heart every time I see it. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind has similar anti-war themes. It's set in the future when most of the earth is covered in acid forests. However, now that I think about it, if you didn't like Princess Mononoke, you might not like Nausicaa. If you want a cyberpunk police thriller, I highly recommend the Ghost in Shell movie Solid State Society. It's not completely action - there is a complex plot - but the action it does have is high-quality. There's an earlier Ghost in Shell movie, created before the series (called Ghost in Shell), which was named as an influence for The Matrix, but I haven't seen it yet so I can't quite recommend it myself. I hear the Evangelion movies have some good action, and personally I liked the Escaflowne movie. Here is a good article on some other anime movies.

There are four final fantasy movies. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within are both computer animated. According to this list of Final Fantasy Media, there are two other animated Final Fantasy films: Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals and Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.

A: Dear dear,

Whistler mentioned Evangelion, which I just have to throw in my two cents about.


I love Neon Genesis: Evangelion. It's interesting, funny, wonderfully drawn, and psychologically intense. Unfortunately, you won't understand a single thing about the movies without watching the series first. I'd recommend starting there. Don't let yourself get pulled too deeply into the lore of the series, though, or your psyche might just snap.

Or maybe I just think about things too deeply. Whatever. NGE is great. It's good enough that someone like me, who is not by any stretch of the imagination an anime guy, could get into it.

A: Dear Wall E.,

Look into the archives, too. We've answered a few questions like this that might stoke your interest.

-Polly Esther
A: Dear dear(thanks for letting me type that)~

From my family member, who knows more about anime than the rest of the world combined:
If you haven't seen Escaflowne that's a sure-fire win. The soundtrack is amazing, the animation is superb, and the fight scenes are frequent and fun.

You might want to try the Final Fantasy: Spirits Within movie if you liked the animation style of Final Fantasy Advent Children, but the fight scenes are more humans against aliens and the plot is...unusual to say the least.

You should definitely see the Cowboy Bebop movie, a movie with lots of action and a fair amount of blood, but no gore that I can recall.

Akira is another movie made by the Ghibli Studios, and although I haven't seen it, it's about animals going to war against humans. There are battle raccoons.

Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal is a samurai movie that assumes you've at least heard the plot of Rurouni Kenshin, and does an excellent job of telling a whole story within the movie. If you haven't heard of that famous samurai you might find one or two of the characters saying unexpected lines, but you can watch this OAV as a stand alone movie and still enjoy the fights/animation style.

Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa also assumes you've heard of the show. If you haven't, watch this movie anyway. The characters may not have the best back stories within the film, but I've seen this movie several times just for the fight scenes---they are beautiful and large scale, with characters occasionally wiping out entire ancient civilization's ruins while hunting each other down.

Happy watching!

A: Dear anime-liker,

If you like action, I heartily endorse Evangelion (though Claudio is 100% right, it's a freakin' mindjob at the end), Cowboy Bebop, and the Trigun series. Trigun starts out with a lot of slapstick, but as it progresses it becomes more serious and goes into some deep questions about ethics and morality. It's a great, exciting series with some terrific action.

Akira is a classic of the genre that everyone should see. Ghost in the Shell is a great movie too, but definitely not for kids... proceed at your own risk.

A small caveat about the FF movies: the games are wonderful, but the movies are kind of boring (Advent Children being the exception). I think you should go rent the first Trigun DVD instead.

Question #45153 posted on 05/23/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

As I mentioned before, I recently bought a cheap 5mW green laser. While I was playing with it I tried three different mediums in order to get pictures of the beam.

The first was distilled water. It didn't work very well, just in case you were wondering.

The second was distilled water with a small amount of single celled, free floating algae added to it. The water had a slight green tint to it. This worked better than the plain distilled water, but the beam wasn't particularly visible and it seemed to dissipate fairly quickly. I had expected better considering that, at least according to my reasoning, the green algae should reflect the green laser very well. But, maybe they did it too well. *shrug*

The third was some tap water that had been declorinated (using sodium thiosulfate) and had been sitting in some big plastic barrels for a few days. This was by the far the best. The beam was more visible than with the algae, and it didn't seem to dissipate as quickly.

My question concerns the last of these. I am wondering what is in that water that makes the beam show up so well. I took some close up shots of the beam in order to try to find out. I'm not sure if they will be particularly helpful, but they might help you get some idea of the particle size. You can see the algae one here: http://fredjikrang.petfish.net/board/singlecellalgae.jpg

And the tap water one here: http://fredjikrang.petfish.net/board/unknownparts.jpg

You can see that the first one at least has some movement of the particles in it.

So, what do you think those mystery particles are? Could it be some kind of bacteria? Or maybe some suspended mineral crystals?


- Fredjikrang

A: Dear Fredjikrang,

If you'd like to know more about the content of your local city's tap water, you might be interested in the National Tap Water Quality Database. They list all the pollutants found in tap water. In the case of Provo City, tests from 1998 to 2003 found all of the following in Provo City tap water:
  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • Selenium
  • Sulfate
  • Foaming agents (surfactants)
  • Chloroform
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
  • Alpha particle activity
Of these pollutants, only arsenic was ever found to be above the recommended health limit, (note that this was not the case with every sample; this is only the maximum sample,) and none was found to be above the legal limit.

So I would assume that the particles you saw in your tap water were minerals of various types and not bacteria. Municipal water suppliers use chemical treatments to kill bacteria before delivery, so it shouldn't be a big concern. They could only get there if the bacteria were introducted somewhere in the pipes between the plant and your house, and my understanding is that suppliers keep an eye on the water quality at various points in the delivery process, so such a breach would be resolved fairly quickly.